The excellent Robin Yassin-Kassab on sectarianism in Syria:
The ugly history has to be understood now most urgently because the regime has instrumentalised sect so savagely since the uprising began. It has done so through its propaganda and, more dangerously, by arming Alawi thugs and sending them to kill and rape in Sunni neighbourhoods. The ruling gang’s objective is to encourage Sunni hatred of Alawis so as to scare Alawis into loyalty to their ‘Alawi’ president. It doesn’t need to be said that the Alawi community as a whole is, or will be, the prime victim of this policy.
Rather than eternally agitating for a Western military intervention that will probably never come, the Syrian National Council would do better to address Alawis and Christians specifically and repeatedly, to name the crimes committed against them in the past, and to welcome the migration of Alawis and others to the urban centres in the Ba‘athist years as a redress of historical wrongs. And anti-Sunni prejudice should also be addressed. Those Syrians who believe that a chant of ‘Allahu akbar’ is inevitably a call for Sunni supremacy, for instance, should be encouraged to confront their assumptions.One thing I thoroughly like about Robin's article is that it is aimed at promoting self-criticism and discussion within Syria's revolution. It is - in effect - a discourse that is not in reaction to the shrill sarcasm of so-called anti-imperialists, who do not seem particularly concerned that the regime is murdering people. Instead, Robin's article is aimed at what I call a "post-conspiracy" audience that needs to now express itself more and establish a new framework of discussion about Syria's future, one that is beyond the binary dogma of "resistance" politics.